Irene Koroluk

Born in: 1965, Melbourne, Australia
Lives in: Taroona, Tasmania
Describe your art in three words: Intricate, layered, tactile
Education: Master of Environmental Studies (University of Tasmania),  Bachelor of Fine Arts (University of Tasmania)
See More Work: https://www.irenekoroluk.com/

Out There - Bleach painting, free motion machine stitching, fabric, batting, thread, shellac ink, 90 x 90 cm

“My artistic practice is rooted in my profound connections with the natural environment. My work seeks to encapsulate and unveil the sense of wonderment, diversity and beauty inherent in wild and remnant habitats. Extremely drawn to fragile and threatened landscapes, I am committed to imparting the value and significance of appreciating and safeguarding the remaining habitats of importance."

What themes does your work involve?
Mostly Australian native landscape diversity, beauty and fragility.
Describe your creative process.
Before commencing any work, I attach canvas or fabric to an underneath layer of bag batting using free motion stitching in a repeated pattern. This repetition allows me to get into the right creative head space. Once complete, my first starting point is always a tree or a plant. From there I add more and more foliage, working from foreground to background. My work is improvisational, with no outlines or sketches. As I often work blind due to scrunching up my work to fit it in between the sewing machine arm and bed, a lot of time is taken balancing and rebalancing the design. I know a work is finished when I stop wanting to add or unpick content.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
My work is influenced by the materials and the facilities I have available on hand when I start a piece. Upholstery thread colours, and bag batting I require are not always available, so I need to work within those confines. Content wise, my work is inspired and influenced by my encounters with the natural world, places I explore and travel to. My work is also informed by my environmental background, interest in conservation and plant diversity, and by my place of residence which borders a ravine with towering eucalypts and native species. I make art because I get a real buzz and validation from selling my work, getting into art prizes and being published. It is also about healing and accomplishment. I've also always had an inner compulsion to scribble.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
Good art to me is work that makes me go 'wow'. It often uses techniques or materials I have not come across, or made by someone whose mastery of technique and workmanship is out of the ordinary. It is work that makes me want to ask questions including how on earth did they do that? It is work that I want to marvel at, spend time with, and stirs my soul. Good art to me is often unique with unusual or difficult content. Good art can evoke emotions of discomfort, happiness, and admiration of beauty. Great art is art that you see and never forget, it is art that speaks to you. Louise Bourgeois's spiders, William Rickett’s Aboriginal sculptures, Rew Hanks lino cuts to name a few. It is work on your bucket list that you want to see before you die; and when you see it, it makes you more whole.
What is the role of the artist today?
Being an artist allows me to share my love of the natural world and hopefully inspire people to go out and be enriched by it. It allows me to continually learn and improve, expand my imagination and keep my brain healthy. Art chose me through luck, being able to draw, and being in the right places at the right times. Art in contemporary society should have many roles including: community engagement and inclusion through community-based art; cultural, aesthetic and individual enrichment; and social and political education and activism.

 


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist


Wen Redmond

Born in:1950'2/NJ
Lives in: Strafford, NH
Describe your art in three words: sensitive experimental photography
Education:BA Mansfield State University
See More Work:  https://www.wenredmond.com/

“My works centers around bringing the outside in. Bringing my sense of delight and appreciation of the natural world to viewers through my art.”

What themes does your work involve?
I continue to investigate the digital world but also imaginative presentations that add to the pioneering exploration of my media and give my work edge. Each work is unique and created individually.
Describe your creative process.
I experiment, looking for new and inventive ways to take my work to the next level, printing on unique or unconventional media, displayed in various ways. Each presentation adds to the pioneering innovations and give my work edge. My techniques can be further investigated in my books- Digital Fiber Art and Other Mixed Media Masterpieces, and my new book, Explorations with Collage! Merging Photographs, Paper & Fiber (https://schifferbooks.com/products/explorations-with-collage?_pos=1&_sid=4f6fd3f09&_ss=r) and an online workshop with Fibre Arts Take Two in August (https://www.fibreartstaketwo.com/courses/wenredmond/?fbclid=IwAR39opvUL8DV3GjYcJbxIIZlWF9xdLxQwYT-yImHR4sg_G15cMvZDIBz_Yo ).
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
My works centers around bringing the outside in. Bringing my sense of delight and appreciation of the natural world to viewers through my art. Manipulating photographs and creating digital images is a huge part of my artistic motivation. I experiment, looking for new and inventive ways to take my work to the next level, printing on unique or unconventional media, displayed in various ways. Each presentation adds to the pioneering innovations and give my work edge. Every work generates an artistic tension, followed by the excitement of the actual creation of the work. A dialogue is started, and the work becomes real.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
Art comes from awarness. Making my art allows me to tap into levels of perception, becoming more aware, more conscious, & more grateful. I’ve loved photography my entire life. This brings a tender sensitivity to one’s surroundings. An eye. Sometimes, I look with intention, focusing on everything with the possibility of creating a composition. And sometimes it just happens. A quick glance becomes the image for a future work. These moments are my well, my source. I bring that energy into my art making, to communicate the positive. Creation gives me ideas. My passion is to put them into art.
What is the role of the artist today?
As yeast to leaven the culture.

Wen's work has traveled the US, UK, Europe, Japan, and Australia, and is part of the permanent collections of Marbaum, San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, CA, Maria V. Howard Arts Center, Rocky Mount, NC, Visions, CA, New England Quilt Museum, and private collections.
She has been featured in numerous magazines and books including her own published books, Digital Fiber Art and Mixed Media Masterpiece and new book with Schiffer Publishing - Explorations with Collage- Merging Photographs, Paper and Fiber.
She currently splits her time between North Carolina and New Hampshire.

 


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist


Noémie L. Côté

Born in: 1980, Canada
Lives in: Ottawa, Canada
Describe your art in three words: Happy textured landscapes
Education: Undergraduate in Ceramics at Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
See More Work: https://noemielcote.com/

"Looking at my work you are at once hit by the sugar-pop of colour that reimagines the landscapes I bring to life on canvas. It’s hard not to be swept along in the bounce of my thick textured paint strokes and moved by the sheer joy that emanates from the rich oil colours. I specialize in vibrant landscapes that captures the essence of a scene, and leaves the observer uplifted."

What themes does your work involve?
I paint landscapes to capture the essence of being in nature—those moments when the sun shimmers off the water, the warmth of a sunset, or the wind gently rocking the trees
Describe your creative process.
I immerse myself in nature as much as possible, capturing moments through photography. Recalling the emotions, I sketch, ink, and paint using thick, buttery oils. The pre-mixed oil paints remain un-muddled, applied with bold strokes resembling butter icing. I paint without layering, preserving the texture and tiny ridges left by the brush. Strokes are applied side by side, leaving space for the underpaint to shine through, imparting a sense of underlying light to the artwork. The vibrant colours are refreshing and never appear overworked or overly detailed, encouraging viewers to engage their imagination rather than expecting a realistic reproduction. I often work in small series, exploring a location or scene across various canvas sizes and colour variations.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
The biggest influence on my work is nature. Having lived on different continents and traveled extensively, I've come to appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of each region. Nature evokes an immense feeling of peace and inner joy that I aim to capture in my paintings. My artistic style has been influenced by the Canadian Group of Seven and Impressionist founders such as Claude Monet. I create art because of a strong inner need to express myself creatively. Art is my self-expression, and without it, I feel incomplete. It's my way of sharing joy and uplifting others.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
Today's art acts as a catalyst for change, with artists creatively expressing themselves and serving various purposes, such as reflecting societal values, contributing to cultural preservation, providing entertainment, and adding beauty to spaces. Personally, as a young child, creating art served as a form of communication and therapy. Art opens your mind and can elevate your spirit.
What is the role of the artist today?
One of the most important roles of the artist is to tell stories, documenting the events and memories of today in a lasting and meaningful way through art. I see an artist’s greatest purpose as being able to inspire others, passing the torch to the next generations the way my mentors passed it on to me.

 


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist


Daniella Batsheva

Born in: 1989, Philadelphia, PA
Lives in: Between US, UK, and Israel
Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration from The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA.
Describe your art in 3 words: haunting, spicy, magical
See More Work: daniellabatsheva.com

Sleep Paralysis - Ink, coloured pencil, tipex on found object, 9x12 in. (SOLD)

Daniella Batsheva is a self-proclaimed “Illustrator with a design habit” whose aesthetic straddles the line between underground fine art and the mainstream. Her work has been displayed in numerous galleries such as The Hive Gallery, Gabba Gallery, Art Expo NY, and her most recent solo exhibition, "Skirting Spectres" at the Crypt Gallery. She has illustrated for Paris Jackson, Kerrang!, Revolve Agency, Pizza Girl, and drawn numerous show posters, which have become well-known in London.

What themes does your current work involve?
The themes often involve a blend of urban legends, symbolism from many different cultures, and femininity. The stylistic approach is a fusion between retro punk show posters and children's book illustration with a heavy Victorian flair. Being commissioned to illustrate pieces with completely different topics ends up being tons of fun because I get to process the subject matter through that mental lens. Lately I've been including a lot more humour in my pieces which adds a more relatable, human element that's received a lot of positive responses.
Describe your creative process.
My process is extremely traditional and it always starts with a massive amount of research. Depending on the topic, I might head to a library. Then lots of thumbnailing and sketching. Once I find the right imagery and composition, I roughly draw out the full-sized piece on bristol. This is where my friends say I'm a grandpa - I'll pull out tracing paper, redraw and refine certain elements, and transfer it to the paper, so everything is ready for me to begin inking. Sometimes I'll keep a drawing black and white, other times I'll scan it in and colour it digitally. Most of my work is commissioned, so the client usually only requires a file and I get to stash away the original like a happy little gremlin.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
I've always felt obsessively compelled to make art. It was my chosen method of communication as an awkward child. I tell people that it's really all I know how to do! These days, I find myself drawing more in defiance of the alarming trends towards AI and the devaluation of artists, but my creations are mostly out of love and a need for mental clarity. My work is heavily influenced by illuminated manuscripts, Victorian era children's books, and horror films. I love taking the naivete and innocence of early illustrations and pairing it with a modern narrative. I generally choose to not rely on a shock-factor or fan-art. I want people to appreciate the artwork, not for its gore or nudity, but for its quality, character, and symbolism.
What are your goals and plans as an artist in 2023?
I'm currently working on an exhibition called "Skirting Spectres" with my friend Susan Slaughter (Ghost Hunters Int., Paranormal Caught on Camera). It's a week long supernatural pop-up show that's taking place at The Crypt Gallery in London from April 25-30. There will be never before seen illustrations on display, along with accompanying stories, lectures, a Q&A session with Susan and I, and live drawing sessions on the weekdays. I also have artwork on display at ArtExpo New York this weekend. I'm continuing to work with my clients, both as an illustrator and designer. Other than that, I'm trying to spend as much time in nature as possible. There's nothing I love more than walking around in the park or woods on a gloomy day.
How do recent advancements in technology affect your art practice? How may recent developments in Artificial Intelligence (image generator software) affect the definition of fine art?
AI hasn't affected my work on a personal level, but seeing artists attacked as "unnessecary" or "gatekeepers" is gaslighting of the worst degree. Artists are not privileged and we are not gatekeeping anything. Anyone is free to put in the work and develop the skills necessary to become an artist. Museums, galleries are free, and you can absolutely find tutorials on youtube. Scraping the internet and using the art of hard working people to create a database that generates derivative images is an insult to any skilled worker that has dedicated their lives to honing their skills. It's simply laziness. We have a culture of convenience and a need for instant gratification due to being perpetually connected to our gadgets and receiving an onslaught of information. We need to touch grass.
What is the role of the artist today?
I think the role is evolving. Artists have always defined their environments through fashion, product design, paintings, iconic imagery and logos, and I think that will continue to be true. However, we're in a place where technology is rapidly progressing, in an attempt to replace artists and, while I don't think it threatens the will to create, public perception of the arts appears to be at an all-time low. People are forgetting why art is important, schools are cutting funding to their arts programs, art is being politicised as something "liberal" rather than something human, and it's all very alarming. I think, as Henry Rollins said, "This is not a time to be dismayed. This is punk rock time." And maybe, right now, artists need to remind people how to be rebellious, critical thinkers.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
A good piece involves striking a balance between skill and cleverness. A piece that is entirely skill, for example, a drawing that is photorealistic but drawn from an existing image, can be impressive, but that's all it is. A piece that has a brilliant concept, but is poorly executed, also misses the mark. Good art is able to communicate a message while being visually appealing in some way. Great artwork should capture the imagination of the viewer and hold it, inspire some emotion, keep them searching, or simply give them a new environment to inhabit for a moment. Great artwork should have a versatility to it. It should be able to be applied in a context outside of visual arts so that it can be enjoyed beyond a specific, exclusive place and the viewer can develop a relationship with it.
Pierrette (Fangoria Exclusive) - Ink and digital colouring, 11x14 in. $20 print
Martyr - Ink, coloured pencil, tipex on found object, 9x12 in. $300
Storming the Gates - Ink on bristol, 11x14 in. $900
Beatrix Potter - Ink, coloured pencil, tipex on found object, 9x12 in. $300

This is the time for artists to create a space for each other, outside of a digital umbrella. We're trendsetters, we're hard workers, and I think we're generally very interesting people. I suspect that if we build that community and space physically for each other, it'll inspire others to follow. Or maybe I'm just being idealistic and people really don't have the will to challenge the status quo. I think we're at an interesting social turning point and we have yet to see where it goes. I'm gonna stick around for the ride and if art becomes disliked, for whatever reason, I'll keep drawing out of spite.

 


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist


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Gergana Nikolova

Born in: 1991, Bulgaria
Lives in: Sofia, Bulgaria
Education: 2014 – Bachelor of Fine Arts from the National Academy of Arts in Sofia, Bulgaria - 2016 – Master of Fine Arts from the National Academy of Arts in Sofia, Bulgaria - From 2022 I started a PhD in the National Academy of Arts in Sofia, Bulgaria - Member of the Union of Bulgarian Artist since 2018
Describe your art in 3 words: changing, emotional, mysterious
See More Work: https://gergananikolova.com/

Liquid Soul I - Acrylic on canvas 100 x 81 cm €2,500

"My art is driven by emotions. I like to extract philosophical ideas from books and seek to transfer emotions from music. I also play the piano and naturally, music in general is very important to me. I find these two branches of art – painting and music – very similar. I like to change my painting style drastically – I don’t like to repeat myself, that’s why change is very important to me."

What themes does your current work involve?
In my current work I’m studying and experimenting with water reflections. I’m very fascinated by the strange forms, that the water is forming. The water reflections look very distorted and abstract, and therefore provoke my imagination to see figures in them. The salt pans near Burgas impressed me with their pink and orange water and this is what I wanted to express in the painting "Liquid Soul I". The technique that I’m using is greatly influenced by the classical examples – I’m following exact stages and I’m working with multiple layers. I work with acrylic paint and I combine it with structure past, vanish or pigments, in order to achieve different effects.
Describe your creative process.
When I get an idea, I start to think how to express it visually. Important step for me is to choose music that resonates with the feeling of the painting in order to maintain and provoke the creative process. When I start new painting, I try to enliven and enrich it with emotions. After a while, the different elements start to develop their own logic and in its own way, the painting is showing me how to continue. I don’t think that the artwork has a particular ending. For me it is just that at some point I don’t see any more how to continue and the emotional connection between me and the painting is gone. At that moment I know that I need to stop, because after this point everything that I try to do looks wrong. After I “leave” a painting I don’t work on it anymore for exactly that reason.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
There are many things that influence my work – experiences, books, movies or music. I am also inspired by other artist – painters and musicians. I have always been impressed by the human psyche and emotions. When I make a portrait, I like to immerse myself in the psychology of the person and express it in the painting. The face is a mirror of the personality and the eyes are gates to the soul. In my opinion, to make art one must have an inner urge to create and to overcome obstacles along the way. I feel this urge inside me and it provokes me to continue.
What are your goals and plans as an artist in 2023?
One of my goals for 2023 is to focus on my PhD thesis. I'm writing about the abstract geometry of Georgi Yanakiev - one bulgarian artist from Burgas, who was most active in the 70s and 80s of the 20th century. Another goal, of course, is to paint as much as possible. I don’t have any upcoming exhibitions for now, but I'm looking foward to have some.
How do recent advancements in technology affect your art practice? How may recent developments in Artificial Intelligence (image generator software) affect the definition of fine art?
The recent advancement in technology doesn’t really affect my art practice yet. I think the AI developments affect more the digital artist. In the digital art world, it will be more difficult to tell at first glance which artwork is made by an artist and which by the AI. The fine arts, for example the physical paintings, will most likely become more valuable.
What is the role of the artist today?
I think that the artist in general is like a generator that absorbs ideas from the surrounding world and transform them into his art. Like a mediator among the people, that subconsciously catches ideas and bring them into life. The role of the artist today hasn’t changed so much, in my opinion – I think he still is respected in the society.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
In my opinion, art is good when it expresses a deep truth and emotion. No matter the style, the viewer should be able to feel this from the artwork. A great piece of art is that which stands the test of time and speaks to the viewer through the ages.

 


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist


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Hui-Yi Pai

Born in: 1953, Taiwan
Lives in: Nantou, Taiwan
Education: P.h.D. in Art Education at National Changhua University of Education
Media: Painting
Describe your art in 3 words: Nature, Beauty, Heart

Standing outside the window - mineral pigments and animal glue on paper, 116.5x91cm

I regard art as a form of faith, just like religious beliefs, that must be approached with utmost sincerity. Every stroke and every brush must be sincere, focused, and emotionally charged. Only with such an attitude can one create works that stand the test of time. I aspire to create works that people can cherish forever, just like precious emotions and memories that do not fade away with time.

What themes does your current work involve?
My creations include realistic portraits, landscapes, urban life, and abstract paintings. Currently, landscape paintings are my main focus, especially the natural scenery I have seen during numerous travels. Nature has deeply inspired my artwork.
Describe your creative process.
My creation started with watercolor paintings. At first, I only created paintings based on my interests, but after receiving professional art education, I was drawn to the ancient oriental gouache painting, which led me to become a gouache painter. The technique of oriental gouache painting involves fusing mineral pigments with animal glue and layering them on the paper. Each layer of color creates a different atmosphere as they are stacked up. The colors of gouache painting can sometimes be layered more than ten layers, creating a unique artistic texture. Although I use traditional oriental media in my creation, my subjects are not traditional. I try to take modern life as my subject matter and have also experimented with abstract styles.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
The most significant factor that influences my creation is nature. Nature has inspired me greatly. Most of my ideas come from the nature, especially the landscapes I see during my travels. Nature is pure and true. It shows what it really is and does not hide anything, which is why it is always breathtaking. Although art is a cration of human, the spirit of nature can be represented in it, making it connected to nature. I create art because of my love for it and my commitment to my ideals. Everyone has ideals, and I feel extremely happy during the process of pursuing mine. Enjoying this pleasure is the purpose of my creation.
What are your goals and plans as an artist in 2023?
In 2023, we have been released from the uncertain situation caused by pandemic. I immersed myself in my studio during the pandemic, and as a result, I created many new works. In 2023, I hope to showcase these works and continue to participate in international art exhibitions.
How do recent advancements in technology affect your art practice? How may recent developments in Artificial Intelligence (image generator software) affect the definition of fine art?
The medium I work with, mineral pigments and animal glue, is traditional and old-fashioned, so it is not greatly affected by new technologies. However, I have also tried to present my works in the form of digital prints to make the ancient art of gouache painting more accessible to a wider audience. As for the development of artificial intelligence, it may have an impact on the definition of art, as some difficult techniques can be assisted by AI. However, art creation is not just about technique, but also about ideas and spirit. Ideas and spirit vary from person to person, and this is something that artificial intelligence cannot replace.
What is the role of the artist today?
The role of an artist is simple - they are creators of art. However, an artist is also not just a creator of art. When they impart ideas into their work, they become a philosopher. When they represent the elements of the world on a canvas, they become an observer. And when they immerse themselves fully in their creation, they become a spiritual practitioner connected to nature. The role of an artist can be simple or diverse.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?

There is no absolute standard for defining a good work of art. The meaning of a piece of work for an artist may differ from its meaning for the viewer. The themes and concepts that the artist focuses on may not be fully understood by the viewer, but in the process of interpreting the work, the viewer also gives the work new meaning. Therefore, a work of art can have different meanings due to the differences in the viewers and environment, which is also the most interesting aspect of art creation. I believe that any work of art that can evoke emotional resonance in the viewer and lead to discussion and various interpretations is a good work.

Green Holiday - mineral pigments and animal glue on paper, 91.72.5cm
Waterfall - mineral pigments and animal glue on paper, 72.5x60.5 cm
Thanksgiving - mineral pigments and animal glue on paper, 72.5x60.5cm
Pink Concept - mineral pigments and animal glue on paper, 80x65cm

 


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist


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Paula Menchen

Born in: 1970,Hornchurch Essex, UK
Lives in: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Education: 1992 BFA Fine Arts, Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design
1990 Parsons School of Design in NY.
Describe your art in 3 words: Lush, fragmented and tactile
See More Work: https://www.paulamenchen.com

Blue Fields

"I am a visual artist based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. My art process includes painting, printmaking, collage and installation art. Having majored as a painter in University, I use painting as a means of experimentation, exploring ways to capture the fluidity and energy of paint. I like to play with the ideas of vast spaces typically using landscape and seascapes."

What themes does your current work involve?
Ongoing themes I am investigating are questions of home, belonging; what is familiar and what is foreign, preservation and destruction.
Describe your creative process.
Mixing materials and ideas to develop a unique visual vocabulary I find the harmonious language between drawing, printmaking and painting. My process consists of researching all kinds of techniques on paper; stenciled, stamped, dyed and resist, creating a unique palette of color and textures. I build up multiple layers of paint, paper and cuts allowing for a spontaneous burst of hues vibrating to the surface.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
Curiosity and the element of surprise! Blending mixed media painting and collages into a substructure of visual colors I deconstruct the surfaces in order to reveal a mesh of layers new and old. Overlapping and layering painting, printmaking and handmade paper to create an evocative layered work. These tactile surfaces create a visual tension between flat fields of color and textured patterns. With a love of paper, fiber and fragments I discover the intricacies of each piece reconstructing them into lush visual spaces.
What are your goals and plans as an artist in 2023?
I cherish the opportunity to have time to focus on my practice and ongoing research for my project “Landscapes”, “Still Life” and “Electric Fences and Stain Glass Windows”.
 I hope to have a solo show with the opportunity to share my work. I am excited for my upcoming Residency at Kala Art Institute AIR, Berkley, Ca. Residencies are magical time to delve deep within your work listening to your artistic voice and being inspired by new surroundings. There is a lot to look forward to this year!
What is the role of the artist today?
Pushing humanity forward, that is what the struggle is about as an artist. Unlocking human and creative potential to think, dream and then share these creative ideas with the world.  
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?

Good art is art that connects with the viewer and make you think, it moves you and speaks to you in a way that is wonderfully surprising. Great art is art that you will never forget it stimulates all of your senses and captivates your imagination. It inspires you to want to create, it surpasses great and moves into marvelous and intoxicating. It embraces the soul and heart of humanity!

White Vase
Stained Glass Windows and Electric Fences
Still Life Flowers in a Glass Vase
Spring Yellow

 


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist


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Jingfeng Li

Born in: Liaoning Province of China
Lives in: Beijing, China
Media: Painting, Drawing, Ink Drawing
Education: Graduated from the Decoration Department of LuXun Academy of Fine Arts in Shenyang, China.

Encounter - Pen and ink on paper, 55.5 x 75.8 cm

Jingfeng is a painter who focuses on pen-and-ink drawing. He likes black and white tones; he loves realistic expression techniques. The real and natural expressions moved the pictures he visited. Art is endless and he always on the road of exploration.

What themes does your current work involve?
My themes are very broad, and what can move me is what I want to express.
 
Describe your creative process.
The creation of the process is relatively simple. The pen, paper, and ink are drawn on the paper through the density of the pen lines to draw layers and spaces. My pen-and-ink paintings drawings start from the local area and gradually expand outward. This requires the ability to control the overall painting.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
Influenced by my elder brother at the age of 7, I started to learn to draw. In middle school, I went to night school to learn how to draw. Later, I was admitted to the Luxun Academy of Fine Arts to study. I have always been in awe of nature, and nature has brought me I have unlimited imagination, and I respect the touch brought by reality, so I like to use realistic expressions to truly reproduce what I see. I have been exploring in the field of pen-and-ink painting until now. It is really laborious to draw realistically with pens. But its form of expression is different. When you finish a painting every time, although you are tired, you are still very happy. This is the magic of pen-and-ink painting.
What are your goals and plans as an artist in 2023?
I don't have any plans. The art of painting is not a fast-food culture. Although the technology can be improved quickly, aesthetics and self-cultivation are the result of slow comprehension and personal experience in life. Art has no artistic conception, I can only say that I am still on the way of exploration.
How do recent advancements in technology affect your art practice? How may recent developments in Artificial Intelligence (image generator software) affect the definition of fine art?
I personally think that artificial intelligence can meet the needs of ordinary people or businesses. The thoughts of artists cannot be replaced. Every artist has his own judgment and thinking. Artificial intelligence naturally has its uses, but it cannot replace my thoughts and it will not affect the exploration of pen-and-ink drawings.
What is the role of the artist today?
Although art cannot be eaten, a high-quality life cannot be separated from art. Art is a product of the spiritual level, and life cannot be without art. I don't know what role an artist plays in life, because I don't make a living by painting, but I know that when I paint a good work, it will also touch the people around me, and I will be touched by nature and life, which is what I think an artist should do.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?

A good artwork first moves the painter himself. The painting must have depth and thoughtfulness, and the work will resonate with the viewer. Everything from composition to modeling to tone should be carefully study, so that the viewers will remember the appeal of the work after watching it.

 


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist


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Ren Jianhui

Born in: 1956, ChenDu, China
Lives in: Singapore
Education: Graduated from Art Academy of Qing Hua University, taught by the art master Mr. Wu Guanzhong.
Describe your art in 3 words: Innovation, Style, Thought
See More Work: www.renjianhui.com

Truth of the Soul 1 - Oil on canvas 82 x 110 cm

"Art is not merely about technique and style, but these are secondary elements serving the bigger function of art in sensitizing us to the human experience. I believe in the power of visual images to convey aspects of the contemporary world, and universal themes such as those of life, existence, and death."

What themes does your current work involve?
Love is the eternal theme of art, the essence of life, the flame of desire. To love is an instinctual part of self-exploration. In the pursuit of lust, bodies and hearts find themselves on the verge of mergence, capturing the harmony of yin and yang. This passionate eruption leads to the fierce entanglement of souls, expressed in heavily distorted and strained faces. The intense distortion and exaggeration of the objective world is the truth of the soul. Our souls symbolize our inner passions, showcasing the bitter struggles and humanity of survival. A viewer can almost delve even deeper like an X-ray and relate to the passion in their own hearts. It is an alternate depiction of emotions through bodily distortion. “Viewing not only with sight but through stimulation of the nerves."
Describe your creative process.
After exploring different styles and various media for more than two decades, I finally settled with oil painting. My emotions can be better expressed with a wider selection of colours and brushstrokes. Through semi-realism, I can show new-found energy in modern oil painting, which includes the combination of modernity and primitivism. With unique methods of processing the paint, I'm exploring the optimum way to treat background and foreground separately on canvas, while producing a perfectly complementary effect. I draw ideas from everyday life and nature. The desire to free ourselves from the complexity and rapidly changing nature of society – to find our inner peace, achieve spiritual independence and feel our own existence. I also work in series.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
I’m inspired by the complexity and perishability of life; by the ever-changing yet eternal nature of its many aspects, including the relationship between man and nature, inter-personal relations and the meaning of life and death. The “simulation” that I seek to embody in my semi-realistic art, as well as my exploration of the interaction between modernism and primitivism, highlight the constant development and evolution of individuals and societies in response to external changes and reveal many truths about human existence. I’m also inspired by the teachings of Lao Tzu in “Tao Te Ching”, especially in this series. “All things carry yin and embrace yang.”. Two seemingly opposite yet interdependent essential energies that make up existence.
What is the role of the artist today?
The role of the artist today is not only to deliver good technique but also to have his/her works enlighten the viewer in seeing things that are not actually seen, beyond the primary stage of ‘seeing things as they are’. This involves a higher level of understanding and enlightenment that transcends reality.
Truth of the Soul 2 - Oil on canvas 82 x 110 cm
Truth of the Soul 3 - Oil on canvas 82 x 110 cm
Fading Civilisation 2 - Oil on canvas 200 x 170 cm
Fading Civilisation 1 - Oil on canvas 200 x 170 cm

 


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist


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Debbie K Morris

Born in: United Kingdom
Lives in: Bournemouth UK
Education: Self-taught artist
Describe your art in 3 words: Hyperrealism Inspirational Detailed
See More Work: www.portraitsbydkm.co.uk

Mountain Ghost - Pastel pencils on Pastelmat 70 x 50 cm

"A self-taught artist from Dorset, UK, my passion for art began at a young age but soon a career and family took up all my time. Now I can follow my dream and in 2018 dusted off my pastels, developed a love for painting wildlife and seeing others enjoy my art. I strive to achieve high levels of realism. Pastels are the 'go to' medium at the moment but I hope to master a paint brush too soon."

All Coiled Up - Pastel pencils on Pastelmat 30 x 40 cm
Broken - Pastel pencils on Pastelmat 50 x 70 cm
I Have a Dream - Pastel pencils on Pastelmat 30 x 40 cm
Fields of Gold - Pastel pencils on Pastelmat 30 x 40 cm
What themes does your current work involve?
Currently I am enjoying painting wildlife but I honestly enjoy any subject that I find a challenge and am happy with whatever theme and subject I choose. I especially like painting eyes, they are the window to the soul and give so much expression and meaning to a subject. I also love to paint metal objects and I love to include water droplets in some of my work. I enjoy painting people and I am more recently becoming inspired by movement within a theme such as dancing or natural actions such as wildlife chase.
Describe your creative process.
I have to be inspired by the subject I am painting but that inspiration can be from a whole variety of things. Sometimes it's the sheer beauty of something - other times it's what is being depicted such as sadness, happiness, love. I then plan the composition and setting such as background, details, colours etc. I map out the composition and block in the basic colours [my least favourite part] and then once I'm happy with the 'map' that has been created, I work systematically from top left down to bottom right. This ensures that work is not smudged or damaged in the process. I use glassine paper to protect my work in progress and then finally, once I'm happy with the finished piece and only then, I sign my work generally in the bottom right corner. I never use a fixative.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
Right now my work is influenced and inspired by the natural world and by being able to raise the profiles of some endangered species through my art. I am inspired by some of the amazing photography that is shared and to be able to paint animals in their natural habitat many of which I could only otherwise see in captivity. I am inspired to improve, to challenge myself and I love nothing more than proving to myself that I can do and achieve something that perhaps once I didn't think was within me. I took up art again to find some work-life balance but it very quickly became something far more important to me than that. Now, I cannot imagine a life without art, the outlet it gives and the joy it brings is the best antidote to a hectic and demanding life.
What are your goals and plans as an artist in 2023?
Who doesn't want their job to be something they absolutely love? I cannot think of anything I would love more than to become a professional artist. In the past 2 years I have been proud to receive a number of awards for my work. My goals and plans for 2023 are to achieve continued recognition and wider exposure of my work through exhibitions, competitions and social media. I want to keep pushing myself to get better - to learn more - to experiment more - to try more mediums and for art to be able to take a more prominent place in my life. I want to get better, I am constantly looking to improve - I want to make the very best use of my time to do all these things - just writing it here fills me with excitement and makes me smile!
How do recent advancements in technology affect your art practice? How may recent developments in Artificial Intelligence (image generator software) affect the definition of fine art?
I genuinely believe that each medium has its own merit and is appreciated for what it is. Just like traditional and contemporary furniture, originals and replicas, they all have a place as long as they are an honest depiction of what they are.
What is the role of the artist today?
I believe the artist has a duty to be true to themselves and the work they do. Art has to come from the heart. What you paint is inside you. As an artist I can sometimes struggle with confidence and self-belief; I am a work in progress of my very own!!! Yes we practice and yes we improve but the real talent is deep within us and is unique to each and every one of us. The role of an artist is first and foremost to paint what they love, not to try to paint what someone else loves; the second part comes from the first!
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?

Oh so many things! To capture something within the art. To hear someone say 'WoW!' To bring out an emotion; to make someone smile or laugh or gasp or cry. For me, to watch someone get right up close to appreciate the work - or to stand right back and just stare. To make someone look twice or to make them feel like they have to have to have it! To be part of someone's home. We are all different and there is such an wonderful variety of art out there. For the artist its like being on the stage - having people appreciate what you do and bringing pleasure through your art is the best feeling ever.

 


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist


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